Instructions for a New Design Quote

Basement Finishing Introduction

Hello again, if you came to this page of instructions, it’s only because I sent you a private link to it.

First Note: this design process is really the new “Virtual Planning Method” that works and views better on a larger screen and  please don’t think you can design a complicated basement or any project space by using a small hand held device if this is what you’re viewing these instructions with. If you want to not have to read much detail outlined in these “Instructions for a New Design Quote” and already understand this simple process, just send me a plan or sketch with measurements of the basement or project space, many photos and email me all of this also requesting or sending my wish list form. Either way, I’ll provide a free quote for the design work.

Also make sure you have Adobe Reader to view all PDF documents and Adobe Flash Player is required although built into most browsers but if you have issues go to Flash Player Help; To test with. I’ve been told the PDF wish list does NOT function correctly on just a cell phone. Please use a PC, laptop or tablet with a stronger processor and larger screen.

First I wish to point out the timeline needed for getting a design finished. If we have 2-3 weeks of time to do a design or even longer, please follow the links below to the next five steps coming up so I can get information from you as soon as possible. I’ve done complete designs in less than a week but I hate to rush it.  It is always better if we take as much time with it as possible since a project this size is already costly for you so why not give enough thinking time on it; we’ll have fun and you will get many preplans to look over this way. I never put a time limit on it, in fact, I have some clients take months so they are sure of what they want and how they want it. It makes no difference to me how long we take or how short of time.

Some clients feel I might write too much as others feel it’s not enough; I like to be sure all possible questions are answered and that you fully understand how this process works and how simple I’ve made this design by email process, now in its 13th successful year with Over 1500 basement designs professionally created using this method so far. Since each client has different taste for a design and since each basement space is configured differently, I’ll need more info from you to quote the cost of the design so please read on and you’ll find that this is a very simple process and I’ll save you money if you’ll do a bit of foot work.

Houzz Badges

Unconditionally, I put out 100% satisfaction as we’ll produce more than just a few preliminary layouts with many 3D rendering views for you to approve! Again, this is“Virtual Planning” after all. You’ll end up with hard copies to produce to build and get permits with. It’s really a fun and informative process as you can read in the reviews about my services at Houzz;

Although I’m a one man show providing personal attention to your design, I’ll require patients in this process so I can turn your basement into something you’ll be very proud of. Rest assured that you are in good hands now as I have been doing this long before some contractors out there could lift a hammer if this tells you anything! I do apologize; the rest of this long set of instructions is necessary to save time later on and I always need to mention all of this important information to all potentially new clients to make very clear that this process flows easily for both of us. Thanks again and kick back, relax, get your favorite drink and please read all of this. Note once again: this design process works and views better on a larger screen and  please don’t think you can design a complicated basement or project space by using a small hand held device.

Instructions for a New Design Quote

Following these instructions is required to accomplish getting a free quote for a very professional design you will love as well as a plan to pull permits with, get estimates from and to build with. I have done many designs for clients that do the work themselves and for so many contractors over the years but if you are doing most of the work and or playing contractor, you will love how easy my plans are to read and follow providing you with a professional design  you can truly build from using the current IRC building codes . Either way, I am always happy to help out and provide a professional design for you that is easy to read and follow no matter who builds it! As you read on, always know that I have been doing designs through email as a great virtual planning method for over a decade now (over 1500 designs to date via email) and please note that I have made part of this basement design process as simple as possible considering how complicated a basement can be to design. If only I could make these instructions shorter somehow!

But mark my words; your efforts providing this information will save you over 50 cents per square foot in the design cost if not more by not having to pay a man extra for such a service to spend a half a day coming out to your home to do what you are abel to do. Back when I visited clients, I had an average drive time of an hour, gas cost, another two hours in your home talking, taken photos and measuring. And by the way, I’ve stood in thousands of basement and don’t need to be there to do this as I comprehend this so extremely well these days if you send great photos. Tip; did you know that contractors add into their bids the cost to design it for you? Nothing is free believe me. This savings is about 500 bucks per 1000 square feet. I’m sure you’ll find this process worth your time as the outcome will be the most professional plan you can get. So all information I am requesting is adamantly necessary in order to complete your fee quote and to proceed accurately on your new professional design once you decide to retain my services!

Always feel free to call or preferably email me to ask more questions (all are welcomed) when needed or visit this link; for more answers. Once you are my client, I am here for you with any construction advice you need even after you start building from a professional design I make for you at no extra cost. To contact me and upload files all at the same time, use Contact Me also at the top of each page at this web site. At any time, you may request my references; you’ll find many design clients I’ve done in or near your location.

If you contacted me just to get a rough idea of what I’d charge to design your basement, here’s a fast way to approximate my fee without taking up each other’s valuable time. Keep in mind that in most cases, my fine tuned free quote almost always comes in lower than what you’ll ballpark. With so many factors and the fact that you might not use your entire basement as finished space and with so many different levels of design complications for me to weigh out; it’s best to have me quote it. But if you take your total square footage either known or from your tax assessor records and or plat plan and subtract about 15-20% for foundation wall thickness and unfinished areas, then do the following;


Using a rate per square foot is how I charge for my time and these rate factors will vary from 35 cents per foot on up depending on what extent of work you want me to do for you. The price per square foot is posted on each one of these design levels (please choose one) at this link; and then scroll farther down the page to find step 6. Next, provided you know the approximant amount of square footage in your basement to be finished, not storage and such, you can do the math using any of my posted cost per square foot rates in relation to each design level example choice.

These rates vary per design level based on what I find in photos sent and what information I see on a wish list (questionnaire form) you’ll send me as well. But for now, use the low end if you wish to quickly find out the design cost. NOTE: You can see if the builder of your home informed you of the basement size in your records and or just check your tax records, the assessment or measurements from a plat plan. Also make note that foundation walls are 3/4 of a foot thick on average and assessor records are produced by them measuring the exterior of you house only, not the interior which is much less. You can take out the total linear feet of foundation walls and multiply by 0.75 and subtract this calculation from the builders or tax assessors figures first. But that’s not all to deduct, here’s more.

Under step 6 at the above link “What I Need From You“; From Design level “A” being the simplest for me to create in man hours to Design level “E” using much more of my time and then you’ll have a rough idea of the design cost provided you subtract what may remain as unfinished square footage. Note that in all designs, unfinished areas are always  used for the space under the stairway, the furnace area and of course some unfinished storage. Most basements only use about 80-90% of the total square footage and I don’t charge for unfinished areas.

So if this ballpark you calculate from using those design levels at that link still sounds fine to you, then please allow me to take the time to do an accurate quote for free (might be less than you figured) by sending me all the information I need. I do have a minimum design fee of $350.00 regardless of how many square feet calculated above with the exception of any promotional discounts offered.

Also make sure you have Adobe Reader to view all PDF documents and Adobe Flash Player is required although built into most browsers but if you have issues go to Flash Player Help; To test with. I’ve been told the PDF wish list does NOT function correctly on just a cell phone. Please use a PC, laptop or tablet with a stronger processor and larger screen.

At anytime you’re understanding what to do now and are tired of reading my novel, please click here to contact me if you wish to upload files to me! All quotes are free by the way!

As part of this free quote process which is unlike doing a ballpark estimation, I actually make a footprint of your basement foundation on my CAD software from dimensions you send me so I may determine the truest total square footage as my fee is based on a per square foot rate. In addition, this design level choice, the finished square footage (I deduct unfinished area’s that I don’t design in), photos & complications seen in photos, age of home, wish list and or email notes, all affect how my time is used.

With all this information, the final design rate per square foot can then be determined and is noted as the complete quoted design cost as my free quote. This free quote is also prepared as a fee agreement for your review if you wish to move forward using my expertise in design. It will cost you nothing but your time at this point to find out what the design cost will be but please understand that this vital information needed is the only way I can give you an all-inclusive cost!

That’s about all for now and please review this link at my other site; How It Works for more information as if this wasn’t enough, right? I am sure you have read about my creative talents and many years of construction experience and skills here at either of my web sites so no need to go into that again here. Just call any of my references when in doubt.

In closing, as a space planning expert and problem solver, I’m not known for designing plans just to make them look pretty on paper; my plans are truly buildable due to my 35 plus year construction background and full understanding of what can be done and what cannot but I need all this information to do a great job for you.  Once again, basements are complicated and I am sure that is why you contacted me. So if the ballpark figure you did seems very fair to use my extensive knowledge, you understand the email protocol in the design process and you need me to provide you a free quote, please follow the remaining 5 simple steps in my design quote protocol by going back to this link; What I Need From You and I look forward in seeing your information and working with you on this professional design. Thanks again for contacting me, you will love what I can do for you!

To contact me and upload files all at the same time, click this link; Contact Me or at the above menu tab.

Ask about my other products and services;  Sunroom Kits, Windows & Patio Door. John Browning is an authorized dealer for C-Thru Sunrooms DBA “Sunroom And Patio Plus” also known as SAPP. Packaged and shipped to your door, DIY and save$$